Families need fathers all over the news today

(470 Posts)
Sheila Fri 03-Feb-12 14:20:34

Bloody Louis de Bernieres also on R4 sounding off about his rights. It all seems so remote - I just wish XP was interested enough to demand contact with DS - usullay it's me naggaing him becuase he sees so little of his son. sad

lostdad Fri 22-Mar-13 09:18:16

ladydeedy - it's something that I hear all the time. I help lots of dads (anf some non-resident mums come to think of it) with the school situation you describe and it's not that difficult to sort out. Give me a shout if you need help with it. Same for the holiday situation...there are ways around it if you play the long game. The last time a doctor tried with me it ended up with a written apology from the CEO of a large PCT, all surgery staff being trained about what PR really meant and my original (nicely asked) requested complied with.

LineRunner - maybe there are some, but I (and we) deal with the other kind. The ones who are like that tend to be told that very thing at FNF meetings or online. I am not sure how you'd measure the type I describe and the type you do (otherwise it's a bit of an insulting generalisation about men...). grin

ladydeedy Thu 21-Mar-13 17:05:49

lostdad agree re the doctor's situation. Also my DH has contacted school on numerous occasions to get copies of info/reports/dates of parents evening (as exw will not share this) only to hear his EXW has removed him from the contact list.. And they say they need her permission to add him again... Just one of many reasons why dads get excluded.

And as for trying to take kids on holiday - well, we all have to wait until exw decides whether or not she will "allow" that. So no flights can be booked or arrangements made. Ditto if there is a family wedding, celebration etc. EXW will decide day before if she thinks she can "allow" it....

In our case kids are now older so things have changed dramatically but when a child hears repeatedly from his mother for years that their dad is feckless, pays "the bare minimum" and does not care about them, it's no wonder kids grow up confused and alienated and it can take years (if ever) to build any kind of relationship.

LineRunner Thu 21-Mar-13 17:03:03

There are plenty of men who put on an act about 'fighting for contact' because they find it easier than actual parenting.

ladydeedy Thu 21-Mar-13 16:59:37

I know lots of men who have tried and tried to have more time with their children, and who do also pay maintenance by the way, but the exw make it extremely difficult for them to do so, and see the situation as them "allowing" the exh to see "their" children. It is sickening to be honest.

It's no wonder that so many men just give up over time if they are up against a battle every time they make a request and it goes on for years and years.

In my own experience I know ONLY fathers in this situation and no fathers who dont care. I dont think that's unusual.

I also know mothers who are crap. And I laughed when I saw the thread on here about a mother going crazy because her ex was taking the child on access weekends to his mother's house where people were chainsmoking. My DSS's mother chainsmokes in the house but there's nothing we can do about that!!

lostdad Wed 20-Mar-13 09:12:12

Oh, I agree SingingSilver. Fathers can (and should) do an awful lot where their children are involved very often. I've known dads who demand `50/50 access' (no such thing) but jump up and down when the kids aren't sent to them with toothbrushes and a full suitcase of clothes (`If you're an independent parent...provide them yourself!', complaining that they aren't involved in the kids' education (`Call the school yourself, go for a meeting and get the paperwork yourself rather than relying on Mum') and much, much more.

If dads join FNF and complain about this sort of thing - they are likely to get such gems of advice. To be fair I think a lot of dads are pretty clueless and a lot of them soon get the picture and realise that they're a parent as much as Mum. I think it may be because a lot of men didn't grow up with involved fathers themselves so didn't necessarily have the right role models. People like me...well - I did. My dad was fully involved in my upbringing and I am the same for my son despite the ahem problems I've had.

Saying that - I (and many) dads have contacted a doctor's surgery to be told `Sorry, we need Mum's permission to speak to you' or go to school and told `You're not allowed to come here because Mum says you are dangerous' and much, much worse.

NoWayNoHow 'I think it's incredibly positive. I have a few male friends whose relationships have broken down, and who are desperate to spend more time with their children, but the mothers are putting up barriers and blocking access and alientating their children from them.

My own cousin is a perfect example of how years of drip-feeding by his incredibly bitter mother (my aunt) has led to a non-existant relationsihp with his father, who has tried for the last 18 years to build bridges with his son.

It's very sad.'

My father is convinced I don't see him because my mother poisoned him against me. She has actually been neutral and fair, never said a bad word to me about him, and I've never overheard any bad words either. But he cannot accept that I can independently come to the conclusion that he's a useless knobhead. The problem feckless fathers have is that at some point their kids grow up and can form their own opinions.

Its a crying shame that anyone should suffer, i feel for all as i have seen things from a nrp point of view, aswell as the rp also my xp dc from his prev relationship would open up and talk to me about how hurt they were that mommy would not allow them to see daddy more so ive seen the hurt from all sides its heart breaking :-(

NicknameTaken Tue 12-Mar-13 15:38:08

I think that's a good trend. Polarising mothers v fathers or even residential parents v. non-residential parents doesn't really help to move things on.

lostdad Tue 12-Mar-13 15:27:50

We're getting increasing numbers of mothers there. We have always had lots of grandmothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, girlfriends and friends of dads there but we also get resident and non-resident mothers.

The whole point is that separation effects everyone in a family and it's a bloody hard job to remain completely child-focused.

It's been a real revelation when mums and dads attend the meeting, hear things from each others' point of view (using each other as their `proxy ex's) and often go away saying `Yeah - I'm p****d off with him/her but I can see his/her point so I'm going to do what I can to stay child-focused').

We're also getting increasing numbers of mums looking for McKenzie Friends to help them out in court too to try and sort things out amicably.

NicknameTaken Tue 12-Mar-13 14:22:08

Hi lostdad, it's rather reassuring to hear your last para. I do think there are fathers who are unfairly excluded. I consider myself a feminist and I have an exH who is a nightmare to deal with and claims I'm obstructing contact when I don't. It still doesn't stop it being true for other fathers. Difficult parents come in both genders.

lostdad Tue 12-Mar-13 10:45:56

Interesting idea queenofthepirates. grin

I doubt it would work though! My son has been taught to call the man my ex left me for `Daddy' and to call me by my first name. If he needs looking after she'll get her Mum to drive 250 miles to look after him rather than me (I'm 20 miles down the road) - because if it ain't in the contact order, it ain't happening.

I'm guessing that if she posted on Mumsnet she'd probably be telling everyone all about me being a crap dad and how her wonderful new husband is a better role model than me and she just wishes he had a good bio dad.

Good thing about FNF is...if you ask if you're being unreasonable you can pretty much guarantee that nearly everyone will tell you in a blunt child-focused manner. It's not uncommon for someone (male or female) who has attended a meeting to be told to stop being selfish and trying to punish their ex if they're doing that sort of thing. They get spotted in about 10 minutes usually! wink

queenofthepirates Sun 10-Mar-13 18:24:44

Here's a crazy idea, why doesn't FNF match up families without an active father some a dad who would like to be a good role model but perhaps doesn't have access to his kids? Yes, I can foresee a million reasons why you shouldn't try it but hec, my DD's father has never been around and I could do with a father figure for her. I could find a boyfriend but TBH, I have my hands full!

What say you?

marjproops Sun 10-Mar-13 18:04:59

Why fathers? arent there are lot of lone parent fathers out there? doesnt it work for both male and female?

There are a lot of feckless BOTH out there.(you can see Im not a feminist,!And yes Im a woman, i believe theres too much sexism against men in as many diff ways there are for women)

Maybe there should be a 'children need A parent-1 or 2- that love them and can give them love and nurturing.....my beef is all these poor children in homes /orphanages.who have NO parents at all.

Yes, Im a lone parent, in my case lets just say that when DC was found to have multiple disabilities, certain people didnt want to know and bu*****d off.
Im ok about it as DC has stability with ME and not faffing between here and there.

But sometimes its the other way round too.

I know a lone father whos wife did that and he's done a great job bringing up his DD.

lostdad Sun 10-Mar-13 17:12:09

Amen!

Its not about mothers, fathers, money or anything other than the dc being able without vile and vindictive individuals (both men and women) using their dc as pawns. it took 2 people to make a life, it should ideally be those 2 who take care of nuture love and support that life, it makes me sick that supposed grown mature adults can not put their dc first and leave their own feelings out of it...rant over

lostdad Mon 04-Mar-13 15:17:19

I've just been reading through this ooollddddd thread (it's a slack day here). I'm a member of FNF. I run one of the branches too and work with my partner as a McKenzie Friend.

Over the last few months we've had more and more women (including resident mothers) who are affected by family breakdown contacting us for advice. I have been plenty of meetings where the women outnumber the men. And believe me...it would be fair to say that anyone who says `I'm not paying maintenance' gets short shrift and told `If you want to be a parent to your kid...start acting like one'!

I'd recommend it to all parents having problems.

From your response I can understand why he's 'heavily involved in FNF' how many times on MN have we seen posts about parents not being able to cope with parenting, and how often do they get recomended to seek help from GP or friends or other organisations. I've never seen a response that's been "your such a shit parent not being able to look after your children that their not safe, ah your not good enough to be a parent we want nothing to do with you." Surely these are the people you want to helping, you hope they get the help and support that they need so they can have a positive involvement with their children.

Fine if you think that FNF aren't having a positive impact on helping the childs farther having a positive involvement in their childs life, but at the moment you haven't said that. You've simply stated that FNF are giving the farther of your child support and advisice, and you don't like that. And you've said that the farther of your child is giving support and advice to others. Do I have to be vetted before offering support and advice on MN if I don't measure up to being a good enough parent does this invalidate any advice and support I give to others?

EstroGena Tue 13-Mar-12 11:02:54

Im not suggesting that at all but have to say that the contact centre had concerns that he was heavily involved in FNF given that he is a perpetrator, violent and someone who has been psychologically assessed as being unfit to care for a child. They found out through him telling them and they contacted FNF to say that they had concerns about him and his involvement. The result = nothing.....he still is active and even acting as a McKenzie friend to others. Is that right, fair and safe for other families who he is 'helping'? Not to me it isnt.

Are you suggesting that FNF should ask for proof before giving help and advice? I'm sure that's a format that could be rolled across lots of different organisations, I'm sure 'Rape Crisis' would be great if women had to prove they had been raped before they got help and advice.

Nobody ever knows the full facts ... we simply have different points of view. And what happens if things have changed after 3 years. Would it not be prudent to re-asses if a contact centre is needed after 3 years. And if it is needed then it should be remain in place and if it isn't then maybe things should change. If you have concerns that the court is putting the rights of the farther over the safty of the child then that isn't an issue with FNF it's an issue with the judiciary, or your lack of faith in the process.

EstroGena Mon 12-Mar-12 16:50:57

My exp has been psychologically assessed as being a significant risk to our DS That was 3 years ago and weve been in a contact centre since. He is an active member of FNF and is taking me back to court for unsupervised access on the grounds that I am unreasonable. I have never denied contact...just want him DS to be safe! FNF are supporting and advising him...but i question if they know the fulll facts or have been given a convenient editted version?! Anyway.....just to say....its all scary stuff when a fathers rights seems to outshadow the rights of a child to be kept safe, first and foremost.

nongenderbias9 Fri 09-Mar-12 11:10:51

Sheila. I don't understand what you are talking about. Please explain. If your x shows an apparent disinterest in the children, then surely you should be applauding Louis De Berniers stand in wanting to carry on being a father to his children.
Your attitude is incomprehensible to me. •Confused: [confused

sunshineandbooks Mon 05-Mar-12 16:53:44

Louis de Bernieres is an excellent novelist whose novels I adore, but he's a sexist, manipulative idiot who spouts a lot of nonsense. I really think FnF should ditch him as their patron.

I have a female friend who had a lot of help from FnF when she became the NRP after 13 years of being the RP herself. There is a place for FnF and it would do their cause a lot of good if they could lose the public image association they have with groups like F4J. Having LdeB as patron isn't helping that happen. Instead it's reinforcing it.

I am firmly in the camp of believing that the fathers being denied contact issue is far less pressing an issue than NRPs failing to pay maintenance (which isn't to say that I don't believe it happens). Despite the compliance figures mentioned below, my own trawl through CSA/CMEC figures show that 46% of those complying with maintenance orders are paying the £5 or £0 rate. The average figure of £440 is grossly inflated because of some mega high payers, just as the national average salary is. Those who have come to private arrangements will still be included in the figures if the RP is in receipt of tax credits, since you still have to mention this income even though it is not taken into account precisely because the government want figures on it. Sure, some RPs may not mention it, but there's no point in lying since it doesn't affect anything.

My point is that if we're going to prioritise family law in terms of what is going to have the most beneficial impact on the greatest number of children, then maintenance should be a higher priority than father's rights. And since this is being presented very much as father's rights (as opposed to the current child's right to a relationship with both parents) then why is there no mention of mother's rights? Where is the mother's right not to live in enforced poverty because the father won't pay maintenance (or the child's right to the same for that matter)?

Coming back to DV. Home office stats (and I know this because I just had a training session on it) are that 1 in 4 women experience it as opposed to 1 in 6 men. This includes same sex relationships BTW and it seems that DV in homosexual relationships is sadly quite high. Anyway, DV rates compared by gender is not roughly equal. Also, within single parent families, DV is much more prevalent (applying to about 1 in 3 in comparison to the wider population figure of 1 in 4).

I also hold no truck whatsoever with the argument that a bad partner can be a good father when it comes to abuse. DV is a factor in 75% of child abuse cases. There is an increased risk to a child who has a partner-abuser as a parent. Quite often, this risk increases, instead of decreases, as the child gets older and challenges the parent more. IMO any instance of abuse should result in mandatory supervised contact and in severe cases contact should be lost altogether.

More recent research shows that NRPs who are unreliable and sporadic when it comes to contact cause as many psychological problems as no contact whatsoever. Therefore I'd like to see contact automatically stopped if there is an obvious pattern of this. I've seen far too many resident parents (of both sexes) dealing with distraught children who have been let down yet again - often on the day - and think it's because they're not loveable enough or important enough to the NRP.

I'd also like to see greater credence put on the standard of contact. The point of contact is for the child to continue a relationship with the NRP. This does not happen when the NRP turns up with a hangover, palms of the child on GPs, friends or even a new partner, takes the child to the pub, plonks them in front of the TV or XBox. If your child matters that much to you then on the days where you are granted exclusive contact to spend time with your child then do something that matters. I'm not condoning it because bad parenting is not the same as abusive parenting, but I've seen this used as a reason why some mothers withhold contact. They are concerned about the standard of care their child receives. That's not spite, that's protectiveness, albeit possibly misguided. A lot could be done by the system (and the NRP) to alleviate those worries and so improve the likelihood of contact continuing on an amicable basis. There are RPs out there too who neglect their children and NRPs who desperately worry about this and want to see it changed. I think family law should take a lot more account of differing standards of parenting and encouraging parents to come to an agreement about standards that are acceptable to both parties. It would save a lot of aggro later on and also send a clear message about what sort of behaviour is unacceptable.

The trouble is that family law and the family courts need a dramatic shake up. THey fail a lot of people. And because they do it in such spectacular fashion, it tends to set those at either end of the debate (i.e. RPs who have useless NRPs, and NRPs who have spiteful RPs blocking contact) against each other, when in actual fact they are both bearing the brunt of a system that doesn't work while the feckless NRPs and the spiteful RPs are getting away with it and playing the system for all it's worth.

It's very very sad. sad

MrGin Mon 05-Mar-12 13:54:30

Funny how it's all over the news now...

Suggest you check the date of the OP.

Or possibly read the 450 odd posts between angrywomans reference and here.

molepom Mon 05-Mar-12 13:41:00

Funny how it's all over the news now...

Isnt the budget next month? aren't these changes to CSA and benefits coming in soon?

Funny That. Twats.

MrGin Mon 05-Mar-12 12:32:04

.... as do some women

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